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About

Ours is a country that is impossible to get lost in, where there is hardly anywhere out of earshot of a road and towns and cities pointlessly light up the night sky blinding our view of the stars.  It's no wonder then that so many of us seek out the liberation of the open horizons of the coast.

Sea angling in particular is a demanding sport, requiring a variety of physical skills to bring order from the shifting waves until everything is narrowed down into a single taut line creating a connection to a truly wild creature. About Sporting Fish

In 1962 Clive Gammon, who sadly passed away in 2012, published Shore Fishing in which he defined the sporting fish species that could be targeted by shore anglers around the UK coastline. Inspired by Gammon's ideas, this site is dedicated to the pursuit of the sporting fish encountered along the south coast of England that fall within casting range of the shore fisherman.

Why shore fisherman? Without wishing in any way to denigrate boat fishing or getting all snooty about it, it was Gammon's contention that the shore angler enjoys a greater variety of methods, locations and sport from the fish he catches than does the fisherman afloat and it was for this reason that his book and now this site concentrates on the sport to be had from the shore.

Below are the species Clive Gammon identified as qualifying as 'sporting fish'.

Sporting fish 1962

  • Bass
  • Mullet
  • Mackerel
  • Garfish
  • Conger
  • Pollack
  • Tope
  • Brill

He also added Turbot, Black & Red Bream, Mako, Porbeagle and Blue Shark but with the caveat that they were virtually outside the scope of the shore angler in 1962. Of these only the Black Bream has increased in significant numbers to be of interest to today's shore fisherman. Interestingly, he also dismissed the case for the inclusion of Wrasse as, like Pouting, they are "too silly, greedy and inedible to be taken seriously, though (Wrasse) rank a little above Pouting in fighting power". Referring witheringly to the Cuckoo Wrasse, he wrote: "...frequently said to be beautiful, an adjective the meaning of which has plainly been confused with that of 'colourful'." He did however concede that it was possible to enjoy catching a few wrasse on a hot summers afternoon.

Now, fifty years after Shore Fishing was published, we think it's a good time to reassess and perhaps redefine the sporting fish species along the south coast. So, after many an argument on the beach and in the pub together with the administration of a chinese burn in the car park we have narrowed our definition of the sporting fish species as follows:

Sporting fish today

  • Bass
  • Mullet
  • Mackerel
  • Garfish
  • Black Bream
  • Conger
  • Pollack
  • Tope
  • Brill
  • Smoothhound
  • Wrasse
  • Trigger Fish

Did you see what we did there? Yes, we included Wrasse. A controversial choice perhaps but we feel that the good ones can certainly pull a bit and are worthy of making the cut. We are not saying that other species aren't worth catching, (there may even be some people who want to catch dogfish) but what we are saying is that there is something special about the fight, the method employed or the degree of difficulty involved in catching these fish that elevates them to be prized above others.

You may take a different view and if you feel strongly enough about it, make your case to us by getting in touch and we'll publish your suggestions for either inclusion or exclusion from the list.

 


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